The Difference Engine is an innovative tool created by Talking Birds Theatre Company to help make our performances accessible for as many people as possible – and now we’re working with other companies so they can use it too. The Difference Engine enables audiences to receive captions on their own mobile devices (smartphones / tablets) via a free App, at events using the Difference Engine system. (Scroll down to find out how to download the App to your mobile).

Audio description and multi-channel captioning (for e.g. translation) options are also being developed and tested at the moment – and we have more ideas for how it might help a wide range of people to have greater access to theatre and other arts events.  To help us test audio description and multi-channel captioning, see the bottom of this page.

See What’s On for upcoming performances and events using the Difference Engine – and look out for the Difference Engine symbol on marketing brochures and flyers.



The best way to access the Captions option is via the Difference Engine App – available on iOS and Android.  The App includes a guide for connecting to a Difference Engine system, and a feedback function so you can let us know what you think of the Difference Engine and how it might be improved.  Please note that the Captions and Feedback options will only function when a device is connected to a Difference Engine network at a performance or event. (The system will normally be active at least 20 minutes before an event begins).

The Difference Engine App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is now available on the App Store (for iOS version 7.1 and above).  If you have an Android device, you can find The Difference Engine App on the Google Play Store. Use the links below to download the App:

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Connecting your device

This video shows you how to connect your device to the Difference Engine network, ready to receive captions (we are working on making this more automated).

Other devices

Devices running older versions of Android or iOS, or other operating systems (like Windows Phone) can still receive Difference Engine captions by using the web browser. Simply follow these instructions when you are at an event.

Audio description

This year we will be testing audio description with a number of arts organisations across the country. We will aim to publicise all the events at which it is being used so that you can go and test it yourself (and see lots more art into the bargain!) and we’d be really interested to get any feedback from you as to how you find the system as a user.

Seeking captioning testers in/near Coventry

We are working with a number of companies in our home city of Coventry who are keen to use the Difference Engine, and its a real chance to carry out some more in depth user testing. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, are based in or near Coventry, and would be willing to test captioning on the Difference Engine for us, please visit our tester recruitment page.